Charlton Avenge Play-Off Defeat Against A Fading Town
I’ve now had the chance to reflect on Town’s 3-0 defeat at the hand of Charlton Athletic last night… Town played desperately poorly and like a team of strangers in a match that only Charlie Austin and David Prutton came out of with any sort of credit.
It was always going to be tough against a well organised Charlton side that was seeking and deserved revenge for the play-off semi-final defeat on penalties. Charlton knew exactly how to dominate the game facing a Town team that was low on confidence, suffering a lack of consistency without the figureheads of Douglas, Ferry, Greer, Paynter and Ward whom they faced earlier this year.
Charlton were far bigger as well as stronger, constantly restricting the space and putting pressure on Town. This worked as Town became rushed and more and more disjointed with nearly every pass going astray, particularly from the normally accurate JP McGovern, our midfield might have well as not turned up. Later in the game the change Wilson made was to bring on the ineffective Alan O’Brien who is hardly known to turn things around.
Upfront, did Vincent Pericard actually win an aerial challenge? What is the point of playing the big man if he can’t be strong and put pressure on our opposing defence to provide Charlie with the flick-ons he needs. I certainly believe Charlie is much more of an aerial threat than Pericard.
Then our defence. 3 of them couldn’t stop Joe Anyinsah who made the first Charlton goal. They provided Charlton which so much space in the final third throughout the first half and we were lucky to go in behind only a single goal down. Without pressure Joe Anyinsah found space in the box to head home a second. A similar story for the third as Paul Benson rises first to head the ball past a static Phil Smith.
As the match wore on our confidence took a hammering. The defence, too scared to concede another, pumped the ball up field where it would fall straight at the feet of a Charlton player ready for another attack, or simply clear the ball out into touch to Charlton’s advantage. We lost any rhythm and Charlton secured a dominant 59% possession and of course the victory.
So Town after last season’s heroics Town are fading way, now sitting 17th and staring at relegation rather than upwards. 7 points now separate us and the resurgent Southampton who’ve risen to 6th place. 27 goals have been conceded and 13 of those have been put past Lucas and Smith within the last 4 games… this isn’t the start we were expecting.
On Monday I looked back 2 years ago to the end of Maurice Malpas’ tenure at Swindon, pointing out the similarities to our current run of results and games we now face. I considered Charlton was a must win game for us to provide confidence going into the 2 cup games. Now that has fallen by the wayside the pressure is really on for a result against Plymouth Argyle this Saturday, otherwise my normally supportive tune for Wilson may need to be reconsidered.